There Goes The Judge

BadStuffDo you watch TV shows like Judge Judy? Do you carry your own inner judge inside? What do you say to yourself when you look in the mirror? Or make a mistake?

We all have some sort of inner critic – a Judge Johnny or Janie that lives within. It is an aspect of personality that helps us be civilized but we need to keep it within boundaries. When the inner critic gets unruly, it judges too harshly, condemning us to a life of poverty, lack, and limitation.

The critic’s voice whispers sweet negatives  to us when our guard is down. This is the voice that keeps us from speaking out because we might make a mistake. This is the voice of constriction, of hopelessness, of fear and cowardice.

Here’s an example….Maisie dresses for a party in her red skirt, pink blouse and she wears a real carnation in her hair. As she looks in the mirror, her inner judge whispers, “You’re too old to wear flowers and you’re too fat to wear bright colors.” So Maisie obediently takes off her first choice and wears that tired old navy dress. At the party, she lingers a dark corner and Prince Charming goes home with a plump girl in a purple skirt – the one with the  big smile who laughs.

Another example…. Horace is a fine fellow with a great job, a big, fancy, car, and plenty of money. His problem is that he’s lonely. Then he meets a really nice woman and Horace likes her a lot but every time he starts to pop the question, his inner judge hits him over the head with fear. The judge spits out a long monolog that includes be careful, she’s after your money. Why would a good woman want you?

Horace and Groucho Marx must have the same inner critic because it was Groucho who said, “ I wouldn’t want to join a country club that would take me for a member”.

Certainly, we need judgment to keep us from possible danger and to stay safe. We also need it to help us make appropriate decisions. We rely on our inner critic to tell us we should not wear our mink to feed the homeless. But we don’t need much more from it. We certainly don’t need to hear it spew criticism all day long.

If you are like most people, there is a good chance you will benefit from opening up the briefcase of your inner judge and ruling some opinions out of order. Your judge probably holds some nasty beliefs that sting and burn just like the nonsense in Pandora’s box.

Look and listen for stuff like, “You shouldn’t laugh so loudly.” “You’re too tall.” “You’re too short.” “You’re too old.” “You’re lazy.” “You should be working.” “You’re too serious.” “You’re not serious enough.” “You should try harder.” “You hang on too long.” “You’ll never be able to catch up.” “You did something so wrong, it will never be right.” “You should be braver.” “You should be ashamed.” “You should start exercising.” “You should stop eating.” “You’re no good.” “You’ll always be poor.” “No one loves you.” “You’ll never amount to much.” “You are worthless.” “You’re unloved and unwanted.” “Nobody will help you.” “You don’t deserve much.”

The list is endless and each person’s list is personal. Rather than analyzing why we are the way we are or pitting one person’s list of  coulda’ shoulda’ woulda’ against another person’s, I offer three tips for controlling your critical voice.

Rule one – don’t get sidetracked into analyzing the contents of the briefcase. It was Clint Eastwood who said, “We should forge on and expect the sun to shine”. That’s good advice so just forge ahead.

Rule two – don’t get attached to your story, or your suffering, or keep any of those pesty opinions for pets. Let them go freely. It is not denial to move on.

I realize this requires a major change for many of us. If we are not going to analyze our problems, what in the world shall we talk about?  If Maisie and Mable have lunch and Maisie doesn’t want to feel bad about herself, she won’t order the baked potato with butter and sour cream and then confess she’s too fat. She’ll just eat the potato and have a good time.Or she’ll skip the potato and have a good time.

Then if Mable doesn’t get to complain about her husband, what will they talk about? How about world peace? Science of Mind? Their accomplishments? Favorite movies? New books? When we stop focusing on what’s wrong and start noticing what a big, wonderful world we live in, our lives will change.

Sometimes we hang onto opinions about ourselves that aren’t working just because we hate to admit we are wrong. Everyone changes all the time. You don’t have to admit you are wrong, you can just rescue yourself and move on.

Take Horace and his girlfriend, for instance. If Horace stops being attached to his story and decides to take a risk on marriage he’ll be moving on. He’ll also be making new decisions and living in the present instead of being paralyzed in fear. He’ll also have many more chances to deal with his lack of trust.

If he’s not attached to fear, and his wife wants money for new curtains he will just say yes or no. He won’t be thrown into a panic and think she’s trying to take him to the cleaners for everything he’s got. He’ll still have to make decisions and use his judgment but he won’t be frozen in fear. Horace gets to be born again on a daily basis.

Rule three  Use Love to deal with your inner critic. This is the most important thing to do. You can use love to bring everything into perfect right order.  Love yourself into health and happiness. If you look in the mirror and your judge whispers, “You look awful today.” Smile at your reflection in the mirror and said, “God loves you and so do I. Have a great day, Beautiful.”

When that judge whispers, “You didn’t get your work done today, you’re a lazy good for nothing.”  Say out loud, “I took the day off and it was fun. I deserve a good life.”  If your inner critic says no one loves you, tell yourself God loves you and you love yourself. Say, “I am love.” Say it until you mean it.

You can even love your judge in time.  Spray the inner critic with love and watch it shrink.  Next time the judge tells you that purple is not your best color, say, “Thank you for sharing. I hear your concern. But just for today, purple is my best color.” In other words, treat that inner judge the way you would treat someone you love but have no intention of letting run your life.  Acknowledge and move on. It’s an old trick but it works.

Ask Yourself

What am I telling myself that works for me?

What would I like to stop saying to myself?

How do I plan to do that?


Gratitude Lists Work

magicelephant_n*Note -This post is from 11/11/11 and it’s raining again today. I have so many more readers I thought I’d  rerun it and take a nap. I still  believe every word except the intro. My health is fine and I’m happy. …..  I wake before the alarm but I am not in great spirits. The weather has changed and it is cold. I’m worried about someone I love. My health isn’t as good as it was last year. I wish I had more money saved. Since these were my first thoughts of the morning, my first act is to make a gratitude list.

The first thing I learned in my first 12 Step program 38 years ago was to start my day with a gratitude list. It was a great spiritual practice and I still use it. Since I started, my life has truly turned around and I’ve found that a gratitude list works like magic. It will change my mood almost immediately and I have come to rely upon this simple practice.

Now that I’m a student of Science of Mind, I know that writing a gratitude list is a way of moving my mind as well as lifting my heart with the simple stroke of a pen or touch of the keyboard. It cheers me up to think about things I have instead of things I want. I am happier when I remember to focus on things I love instead of things I worry about.  It also sends a direct message to the Infinite Mind of God that I claim more of the good stuff in my life. I accept the best.

Expressing gratitude for the hundred dollars I have in the bank is a much more effective way to build prosperity than praying for the thousand dollars I think I need because the way spiritual laws work is that what I focus on is what I get. When I focus on lack, I get more lack. When I focus with love on the money I have, I will get more love and more money. Expressing gratitude is very effective way to work with the spiritual law of attraction.

The Universal Mind we call God functions on spiritual law. You attract what you are. If you are wrapped in a feeling of doom and gloom about money and your inner refrain is “Not enough” that is the message you are sending to the law of attraction. You are sowing scarcity and it is impossible for you to reap anything but more scarcity. While not everyone understands this, spiritual laws work exactly the same for us all. God does not take a vacation, play favorites or make exceptions.

Never mistake it, making a list of the things you love in your life is a direct prayer to claim more of that good. The best part of all when using gratitude lists is that you don’t have to believe in it or even be hopeful, you just need to make that list. This simple, straightforward spiritual practice does not require any deep intellectual conviction or religious faith. Just about everyone can find something he or she is grateful for, no matter how bleak things look.

I challenge you to make a list of 10 or more things every morning for a month and see how your life improves. You will obviously be more cheerful. That is a psychological fix that will help but a consistent practice of gratitude will do more than cheer you up, it will bring more of what you enjoy into your life. Keep your list simple and honest and it will work well.

My ten things for this morning? 1. The money I currently have in the bank. 2. The distance my loved one has already come. 3. The weather here in San Diego (even on the bad days). 4. My grandson visits today. 5. My coffee is good. 6. My beautiful home. 7. My new novel to read. 8. I’m going to a museum today. 9. My Science of Mind teaching. 10. My prayer partner. … Now that I’ve made that list I’m in a new place of heart and mind and could go on to list another 90, for sure.

Ask Yourself

How many things can you list that you are grateful for in the next fifteen minutes?

Will you try making a list of ten things you are grateful for every day this week?

Art and Spirit

gatesI’ve developed a stronger interest in art lately. I find that I do more drawing and I watch more documentaries on art history. I also notice there are more people in my world who are also interested in arts –music, dance, theater, or visual arts. I think we are part of a rising wave that signals the need for art to open our eyes and hearts.

At it’s best, art makes us see and feel in individual and creative ways. Art is a strong pathway to independent thinking, and living. It challenges our old ways of thinking and opens us up in amazing ways.

Good art should enable us to see more, be more, and feel more. We may think of art belonging in museums and concert halls but if we want to see life in a new ways, we need to remember that art doesn’t have to be bound by a frame.

The artist Christo, turned New York on its ear when he installed those 7500 flapping orange gates in Central Park back in 2005. It was in February, when the whole world was gray. It’s gray today and I’d love to look outside and see bright orange instead of dull grass and gray skies.

One critic wrote about The Gates, “…the best part of the installation was that all these habitually grim New Yorkers were walking around smiling and chatting with each other.”  She also said the installation was inspirational and that any art that can make New Yorkers smile in dead winter is great art. I agree.

Great art is great because it allows us to see things differently. Even more important, it demonstrates the human potential for creativity and for breaking the bonds of limited belief. It helps us visualize new and important experiences.

Creative visualization is easy. Imagine yourself in Central Park. You are about to step through a saffron-colored cloth gate. It is at least 18 feet tall and will open up new vistas of belief in your life. Just close your eyes and imagine you see the saffron colored flag flapping in your mind. Now duck through – into the place where dreams come true.

Ask yourself, “As I walk through this gate into unlimited possibility what do I choose to find?” You can do creative visualization any time and it will help you see the world as more open, and more possible than before.

I often use a great piece of movie art when I want to visit the land of unlimited possibility. I imagine Dorothy and Toto flying around in her Kansas sky-basket and then I see her drop into the Technicolor world of OZ.

The movement from black and white to color means something to me that is totally spiritual. No matter what is going on in the land of facts, it helps me transcend fear. I get enthusiastic every time I imagine landing in magical world of OZ where anything can happen.

We use can creative visualization like we use works of art. The purpose is to move our consciousness, including our emotional natures, into a place where we feel more open, more positive and where everything feels possible. It is good to follow up visualizations with prayers.

Our prayers may not feel like works or art but they are creative. They are directed, purposeful thought and each time we put our minds to directed prayer or visualization, it is very powerful. It is much more powerful than random worry.

Like prayer and other spiritual practices, the creative arts blow away our limited belief systems and open us up to new impressions and understandings. Spiritual teachings do that as well. Prayer can clear out the confusion, open the gates of our minds and empower us. Good art very often has a deliberately spiritual component.

Take The Gates, for instance. The fabric color was called orange but it was officially saffron –the color of a Buddhist monk’s robe. The installation was only in place for 16 days and the reason was impermanence is a Buddhist concept. It is also a New Thought concept.

We know everything changes and that is a great blessing. Spirit is constantly creating and recreating the physical conditions of our universe.  We turn to our spiritual teaching and to prayer to make sure that the changes go in the direction of our dreams.

A project like Christo’s, The Gates, is temporary but our prayers and thoughts create a permanent new world for ourselves. We can use art works it to inspire our own creativity. Good art can make us ask, “What can I do in my life that is powerful and original? Christo defied the usual limitations of art, and that can motivate us to defy the usual limitations in our life.

Did you ever think that artists and New Thought spiritual leaders are doing the same work in different ways? They both aim to help us see life differently. More than one person has been enlightened because of a painting or musical composition.

My life was enhanced and enlarged by the works of art. One example of an artist who helped me see the world in new ways was the early 20th Century Russian painter, Marc Chagall. He was part of the Paris art world around the turn of the century and he painted childhood memories of his Jewish-Russian village. His dreamlike paintings sometimes featured people floating through the air.

When I saw those magical mystery tour paintings I felt like Chagall and I were cousins. Until then, I thought I was the only one who could see people floating in the ethers. His paintings blew me away.

Artists shake us up and let us see that we can change. However, most people resist the idea that we can change. They look at Christo’s golden gates and say, “What’s that bunch of flapping rags mean?” Or they look at a Chagall painting and says, “That’s silly, people don’t fly.”

We are indebted to artists because they show us change is possible. They are a gift and we thank them when we appreciate their endeavors.

We can use also use artistic activities in our lives to open ourselves up to unlimited possibility. If I could wave my wand today, I’d give everyone the gift of some personal artistic expression. Whether it is dance, painting, singing, or playing a musical instrument, I believe we can all benefit from some kind of art in our lives.

Ask Yourself

Do you enjoy art?

Do you enjoy creative visualization?

Do you believe in unlimited possibility?

Birds of a Feather Flock Together

Do you live in a bubble? Yes.Yes.Yes. You do live in a bubble of beliefs called ladywithdoveconsciousness. Your bubble acts as a filter and an attraction device. It draws circumstances and events to you or pushes them away. Your thought bubble is creating your life through the Law of Attraction.

Since you are reading this, you and I are probably have matching bubbles in some ways. For instance, if you are reading this on Facebook, we probably share friends. That means you get a lot of messages filled with sweetness and light, and dare to dream ideas.

My favorite news commentator likes to talk about how that other political party lives in a bubble. She seems certain her life based on “reality” but I’m not so convinced. I love her but I think she’s stuck in an “ain’t it awful” bubble. I watch her because she’s the best there is. Even though she’s a friend on Facebook, I wouldn’t want to live in her bubble.

One of the attractions of Facebook is that you select your friends and control and create your own bubble. I don’t agree with everything that’s posted on my Facebook page but it adds up to positive thinking and I am committed to positive thinking. I like to think life is a bit like Facebook.

I am also committed to changing my thinking and changing my life. Facebook has turned out to be an effective tool for that endeavor. I may get too many photos of cute animals for my taste, but the kitties really are darling. Some of the jokes are corny and others make me laugh out loud. A real laugh out loud is a wonderful thing.

Many people on my Facebook page are old friends and that’s fun. I am communicating with four wonderful people I lost track of years ago. Recently had lunch with someone I sponsored about 20 years ago. I’m also getting to know new people with positive ideas.

I used to think Facebook was a waste of time and it is still low on the time totem pole. I joined because I wanted more readers for my blog and it seemed like an easy way to expand my circle. When I receive a friend request, I check for a New Thought connection and say yes. Now I have 583 friends. Let the circle keep on growing.

Some people are afraid of Facebook because of the weirdos. I’ve found dealing with negative types easy. If someone tries too hard to sell me things, I cut him or her out of my group. Same goes with people who complain constantly. It’s very impersonal. I don’t wrestle with my decision. Out they go!

Facebook has increased my blog readership. I’m getting more comments from readers and  I reached my last year goal of  200 subscribers on New Year’s Day.  The biggest pay off  turns out that to be the kaleidoscope of an  inspirational book or DVD that my friendly bubble creates for my personal pleasure.

It feels like a science fiction movie. Imagine opening a book and finding it is filled with new stuff every time you look. It’s always the same only different. I love it – partly because of the delicious illustrations and partly because it enables me to look at old ideas in brand new ways.

I get a lot of illustrations from children’s books of the Victorian age. I’m a sucker for those Beatrice Potter paintings. I also get a lot of magical  illustrations from a site called Wyse Woman. There is no way I would ever go to a psychic but I love her entries.

One day several photos of glamorous models, age 80 to 103, showed up. Who could imagine opening your Magical Facebook and seeing some elegant lady with bent shoulders and a cane modeling real clothes you can buy? No – I didn’t buy anything but I was truly charmed. It blew away some of my cobwebs about aging that were stored in my mind corners. It also made me laugh.

Lately, I’ve noticed that I’m spending quite a bit of time on Facebook and I think it is good for me and my spiritual practice.  I love those inspirational quotes, pasted on photos of the Dali Lama or Albert Einstein.

Our beliefs, whether we call them mental atmosphere or consciousness or bubble are instrumental how our lives play out. We can learn to control or change those beliefs if we pay attention.

My grandmother said, “Birds of a feather stick together.” I had an eccentric psychiatrist friend who insisted she could diagnose any mental patient within a day by turning him loose in the yard and seeing who he made friends with.I thought she was just being outrageous but when I taught school I found it worked. When a student was transferred to a new school because of discipline problems, he  invariably bonded with troublemakers the first day. It was like kids had radar.

One of the first things you hear in 12 Step Programs is, “Stick with the winners.” Soon after, you hear is that geographic cures never work. The great novelist Thomas Hardy said, “Character is fate”. And our pal, RW Emerson said travel was no good because you just carried “ruins to ruins’.

At some level, the idea that we attract who and what we are is an old one. It makes perfect sense to me because I have been studying and teaching Science of Mind and the work of Ernest Holmes, for many years. Our consciousness is the collection of ideas, thoughts, emotions, and beliefs we hold. We form out consciousness from what we have experienced and learned and some of it is deeply personal while other parts are cultural and historical. I personally believe we probably brought some with us at birth.

We want to reinforce the positive parts of our prevailing belief system because that will bring in more positive things to our lives. We can clean up our consciousness and then we will be more loving and hopeful about ourselves and the world. We are confronted with many choices daily  and we can steadily move toward the light.

Life is easier and better when we make positive choices. With attention, we can improve any situation. We can begin today by consciously looking at what we are reading, what ideas we are accepting and what friends  we are choosing. We have a lot of control because there is a Power For Good working in our lives and we can use it.

Life is not as simple as Facebook but the principle of the Law of Attraction is the same. You and I can control the messages we receive in life by the large and small choices we make today. How shall we spend our time? With whom shall we spend our time? What shall we read? What shall we view on TV? We can choose. Some choices can be new and different.

Ask Yourself

How do I choose my friends?

What do I want my message to be today?

Is there anything I want to change today?


Laugh Lines

 Who is your favorite comedian? What makes you laugh? Do you have a special friend that you laugh with? When did you last laugh out loud? Do you consciously seek laughter? Why? Why not?

By now, most people in New Thought know that laughter helps you to be happier and healthier. Scientific studies are always extolling the virtues of a good belly laugh. It is excellent exercise for body and spirit. On Sunday, our pastors remind us, “A merry heart doeth good like medicine”.

New Thought encourages a light heart and plenty of laughter in our lives. I am a teacher and student of New Thought with a background in psychology. I have even written some comedy during my long career as a writer. Yet, I don’t laugh every day unless I make it a conscious choice.

On most days, I do my own spiritual practice then I talk and pray with my prayer partner. After that, I work on my writing, pay bills online, play AARP memory games and make phone calls. I might meet a friend for lunch or run some errands. I finish my day by watching the news and a movie or reading a book.

My days are pleasant and I enjoy life it but they tend to focus on helping others and work. Sometimes I forget about how funny life is. Why is it that?

It would be wrong to say nothing funny happened. Truth is, I just need to pay attention. Or make some other choices. Mostly, it’s a matter of choice and habit. We are not stuck in our habits of thought if we think about it a bit.

New Thought is all about learning to think differently. We choose to look on the bright side and that choice does become habitual. That’s what I teach and what I live.

For example, I’ve consciously developed an attitude of gratitude. When I rise in the morning I make my gratitude list and that sets the pattern for my day. Over the years, it has become second nature to look on the bright side of life.

I’ve also quit drinking and smoking and cut down on silly eating. These addictions were triggered by habits of thinking that I erased. I’ve changed my thinking in so many ways, I know I can make laughter a habitual response to life. I can change my thinking and change my life.

A long time ago, when I took a graduate seminar in comedy, I discovered I was very confused about what passed for comedy. My thesis was supposed to answer the question, “Is Kafka Funny?” I said no but it turned out the professor had written a book on Kafka’s comedy. He thought I was wrong and I thought I was right. We did agree that the C minus he gave me wasn’t funny.

I still don’t think it is funny when the hero wakes to discover he’s turned into a bug, which is what happened in Kafka’s, The Metamorphosis. When I read that famous short story, I felt sorry for the poor bug. Cruelty and pain are the edgy part of some comedy and that doesn’t make me laugh.

That’s what happens to me- even in movies. I react with empathy instead of laughter. I just don’t think it’s funny when the fat lady slips on a banana peel. I always hated those cartoons where the rooster got flattened by a hammer and then would spring up again. I looked to me as though that hammer hurt the poor rooster a lot.

But I do love to laugh and I do believe it is good for us. Many years ago when I was in chemotherapy for breast cancer, I decided to choose only “happy, happy, happy” stories and I have stayed with that habit. It is a part of my spiritual practice and it works for me.

My comedy choices avoid ridicule, sarcasm and violence. The old movie Sullivan’s Travels makes a perfect argument for the value of comedy and I agree.  However, the prison and poverty scenes are not funny. I actually preferred the modern take off Oh Brother Where Art Thou. George Clooney and the music are fabulous.

What I like best is surprises. A total surprise is always good for a belly laugh from me. I laughed out loud when my six-year-old nephew poured coke on my friend’s bald spot. I laughed out loud when the hero stepped off the silver screen into real life in Purple Rose of Cairo.

Seinfeld is good on surprises. Cary Grant and Woody Allen have perfect timing when it comes to prat falls and other site gags. I love also a good site gag.

One of my favorite movies in the whole world is The Lady Eve. I like it when Henry Fonda falls over and spills stuff at the formal dinner party. He then changes his clothes and proceeds to fall and change several more times. I have seen the movie at least 25 times and I always laugh out loud at Fonda’s tumbles.

I learned to love screwball comedies from the 30’s and early 40’s during chemotherapy and they are still my best laughter flicks. Others on my best laughs list are My Man Godfrey and Bringing Up Baby.

Whenever anyone is down in the dumps, I suggest, “Bring in the clowns!” Danny Kaye was brilliant for a lot of reasons, including his marvelously responsive face. Lucille Ball’s TV show offers that same flexible reflection to life. She is the world’s best clown. Woody Allen came much later but he’s also a great clown and comedian. Have you seen Hollywood Ending?

The movies aren’t the only laugh triggers but they are easy because you can rent them. It’s more difficult to rent friends. And friends you can laugh with are treasures to be nurtured. I have a couple of friends who are always good for a laugh or two. The ones close to my age are the best. We are now getting to the place where we are so delighted to still be here that we think life is a great, big, wonderful joke.

Real laughing friends are wonderful. Imaginary movie laughter is also great. You can also be your own best friend if you put your mind to the funny things in your journaling. There’s nothing that says a memoir has to be about the struggles you’ve overcome. It can also include the laughter and fun you’ve found.

Your thoughts can be trained to include observations of the funny things are in life. I can make myself laugh out loud right now just by thinking about how things have changed.

My sister and I sometimes talk about our high school algebra teacher. Mr. Baker walked up and down the aisles, shaking his head and saying it was a shame we girls couldn’t just learn to bake biscuits instead of math. He was certain we would soon be married and our husbands would take care of all those nasty bills. I have been widowed twice and self-supporting. My sister has been a widow for many years and successfully manages her estate. Mr. Baker’s opinions always good for a laugh.

Of course life is no joke but laughter is good for us so it’s smart to seek out the light and bright stories in our days. We can decide how and where to send the light of our consciousness.

There are times when a good laugh is the true healing we need most. Our ability to laugh may also help people around us. I thank God that I can look at my own life and see that the laugh is on me.

Ask Yourself

What made you laugh today?

What makes you laugh generally?

What are your favorite comedians?

What friends make you laugh?

Would you like to laugh more?

How might you add laughter to your life?


A Rosy World View

 This is blog #100 so I want to say something profound and here it is… Each of us views the world through our belief-colored glasses. The rosier they are, the happier we will be.

Albert Einstein was right when he said the most important question is whether the universe is friendly.

I feel smarter than Einstein because I know the answer. The world is as friendly as you think it is.

Of course, Einstein was a true genius because he developed the question out of his amazing original thinking. Most of what I know comes from Ernest Holmes, the founder of Religious Science and author of the Science of Mind Textbook. My genius was in recognizing the wisdom of the ages when I saw it.

I didn’t immediately recognize the eternal wisdom, I just hoped it was true. Whatever – I’ve spent the last thirty-eight years testing Holmes’s ideas. As I studied and practiced Science of Mind, my glasses (and my world) turned rosier and rosier. My life is much better than expected and I credit my rosy glasses for that upturn of destiny.

I was definitely headed for trouble when I was younger. I avoided my probable fate as I discarded my dark glasses and deliberately set out to become an optimist. That decision worked wonders for me

I’ve encountered setbacks but Science of Mind has helped me in every area – creativity, prosperity, relationships, and, despite some serious problems, health. During my most recent trip to my lung doctor, he used the phrase, “ridiculously well” several times. So far, I have defied the COPD prognosis and every day is a blessing.

I’ll be 80 in April and when I look at my original beliefs about old age, I see that I’m doing much better than I was taught to expect. I have a purpose, I try new things, enjoy life, learn new skills, make new friends and have good times. I’m certain that I’m here and happy because I’ve been resolute about changing my thinking.

You don’t have to be brilliant or pious to use positive thinking. Anyone can do it. On the other hand, we all encounter surprises and challenges as we move along life’s path. As I’ve aged, I’ve had to learn some new skills and adapt to my new body and changed circumstances.

I still get to control the direction of my change and I still get to be healthy and happy. Change is still possible but change does not come the way it did at thirty. For example, I release that idea of romantic love and accept many good friends. I don’t look for high-paying work but continue to find ways to live well.

The key remains the same – being open to release old beliefs and make room for the new. I am happy to  admit that I did quite a bit of releasing and accepting as I travelled along my spiritual path.

Sometimes seems as though I released one negative belief only to discover six more but I kept on keeping on. I remember Dr. Tom Costa saying, “If you are going through Hell, keep moving, don’t pitch your tent.”

I learned that changing consciousness is a lifelong work and I also saw that spiritual principle supported my changes immediately. My journey has been one of release and support and it has been a testing ground for the power of Science of Mind and affirmative prayer.

I can now say, with perfect confidence, that it is  absolutely true that what we believe about the nature of reality has a tremendous influence on how our lives spin out.  I can also conclude that changing beliefs is complicated because some are cultural and others are deeply embedded in childhood experiences. However, I am certain that we are not really at the mercy of fate or kismet or kharma.

There was a time when most people believed that our life story is created by fate. Fate was usually portrayed as three women at a spinning wheel who twisted the yarn and spun out our story until one of them snipped the thread and it was all over.

You may remember these three fates as the three witches in MacBeth. They also appear together or separately in many fairy tales. That belief system makes us victims of fate. The Three Fates have all the control and life happens at us. Not true!

If we believe in fate then we are victims. It is always hopeless and we are always helpless. Not so! We can train our minds and gain control over much of our lives. We are not victims.

Trained minds touch into the Infinite Possibility, Infinite Power and Infinite Intelligence of God. We say, there is a power for good and you can use it. That is a shorthand description of the wisdom of the ages.

The Master Teacher, Jesus said, “As you believe, so it shall be done unto you.”

About 400 years later, the Greek philosopher Plutarch said, What we achieve inwardly will change outer reality. He was speaking as if he were a quantum physicist only he said it 2500 years earlier.

In between the early Christians, ancient Greeks, and modern quantum physics, I found the teachings of the Asian masters by way of hippie gurus such as Alan Watts. Among many other things, Watts said, Reality is only a Rorschach ink-blot, you know”.

I fell in love with the idea of personal freedom and the ability to change my destiny in the Sixties. My early journey included Tarot cards, booze and acting out characters from old movies. For a while there, I really thought I was Sadie Thompson.

Eventually, I turned to a serious study of Science of Mind and I found Truth in the works of Ernest Holmes. He was a great synthesizer. He said, “Borrowing knowledge of reality from all sources, taking the best from every study, Science of Mind brings together the highest enlightenment of the ages.

In retrospect, my life is living proof of the practical wisdom of Science of Mind. I share it because it is not theoretical but my very real experience.

In the early Eighties, I began to really soak up the wisdom teaching. I took classes, read books, listened carefully and I experimented with positive thinking. My world got lighter and brighter almost immediately. Over the years, I changed my mind about nearly everything. Somewhere along the road, I discovered I live in a friendly universe.

What about you? Do you live in a friendly universe? Or is it full of lions and tigers and bears?

If your life-load seems too heavy, you can begin with some simple steps. First, try gratitude. Nothing greases the wheels of life as quickly. An attitude of gratitude is a marvelous change agent. Try it – it works!

Then begin accepting more. When someone gives you a compliment, say thanks instead of arguing. If they want to take you to lunch, accept the invitation and have fun. Take the good things that come your way and enjoy them without a struggle.

Gratitude and acceptance are perfect ways to begin your own experiments with Truth teaching. Dr. Holmes uses many names for God and the one I love is Divine Givingness. Open up to the gifts of life now!

Spiritual laws are always working. Put on your rose colored glasses and celebrate this hundredth blog post with me. Use Science of Mind ideas about reality to prove the wisdom of the ages with your own life story. Create a rosy future for yourself.  What have you got to lose?

Ask Yourself

Do I expect the best?

Am I usually grateful?

Am I good at accepting?

Glad and Gladder

According to the pundits, my candidate didn’t do as well as his opponent during the first TV debate. I was distressed until I decided to play the Glad Game. Now I am encouraged because we will work harder on the election. Pollyanna taught me to trust.

Trust took me a while to learn. But trust and gratitude were two qualities I had to embrace in order to stay sober. It wasn’t quite as simple as Pollyanna made it seem.

When I first got sober, my sponsor wanted me to see the bright side, stay on the sunny side of the street and look for the silver lining. If nothing else, he thought I should be grateful I was sober. I was miserable because I thought I had to repair my life immediately. How could I be happy when my life was a disaster?

Even worse – when he brought up the subject of gratitude, I felt like a naughty 12 year old. That was my age when my mother bought me the book Pollyana because she thought I was a grumpy brat.

In case you don’t know the story, Pollyanna is a poor little orphan who knows the secret of happiness. She’s the daughter of deceased missionaries and comes to a small town in middle America back in the late 1900’s. She converts the whole town to New Thought only she calls it teaching everyone the glad game.

Pollyanna (and my sponsor and my mother) all agreed that no matter what is going on, you can always find something to be glad for. One example was the time when she wanted a doll and the missionary barrel contained a pair of crutches. Obviously, she couldn’t be glad for the crutches but, she could be glad she didn’t have to use them.

The glad game actually is the secret of joy. I started practicing it a bit late but I am now a true believer. Very early, when I balked, I was told that if I couldn’t be thankful for my current life, I should give thanks for the good that was going to come out of today’s problems.

Over the years, I’ve applied that technique to many of my own issues and also helped other people use gladness and gratitude in their lives. I have found applying gratitude in this manner has always worked. Even though I wasn’t always able to reorganize life exactly as I wanted, in retrospect, I have seen things turn out extremely well.

Sometimes playing the glad game improved outside conditions as though it was a miracle method. Sometimes the results were on the inner level. People found peace of mind, a shift in understanding or some other invisible benefit. Sometimes the desired results worked in surprising and unusual ways.

Here is a true story from AA. It is, as my mother used to say, “as funny as a crutch”.

Speaking of crutches… A speaker in a meeting was on crutches because she fell off a bar stool and broke her leg. She spoke about how very grateful she was. Seems her broken leg was the direct cause of her decision to get sober.

My second story is personal.  Once, I wanted a job on a Sunday newspaper very, very much. I was consistently writing free lance for them and they consistently hired a younger man. I was despondent, desperate and angry. Then I remembered to practice the glad game and I began to look at a wider field of opportunity. That worked so well it seemed like magic.

Thank God I didn’t get the job writing for that pokey little Sunday newspaper. Instead, I made contacts in New York and built an exciting career that landed me on the NY Times best seller list for months. I wrote 80 books for young people during the next ten years. It all happened because I decided to be glad for new opportunities.

The glad game is a great deal like affirmative prayer or spiritual mind treatment, isn’t it?  We always end our prayers by giving thanks. We thank God for the  good that is coming even before we see it. It isn’t too much of a stretch to say that our thanksgiving step in affirmative prayer is playing the glad game.

Our New Thought religion is one of joy, gladness and gratitude and we praise life. Joy is a wonderful part of our religious experience. You and I and Pollyanna all sprinkle glad game dust wherever we go.

According to Pollyanna, there are over 800 verses in the Bible that praise God and call for joy. I haven’t counted and she is stuck permanently at age twelve so I’m not absolutely certain about the number. I do know there are plenty jumping for joy verses in the good book.

The Old Testament, especially the Psalms, tells us to sing a new song; to play skillfully with a shout of joy, to jump for joy, and to generally create an uproar. We jump, we dance, we sing, we shout for joy. It’s all good!

It isn’t just Pollyanna or the Bible that teaches us how to be joyful. Tips on how to build more joy into your life come from everywhere. From Pollyanna, you’ve learned to play the glad game. Thank you, Polly dear. From the lady with the broken leg, you’ve learned to be thankful for the good that comes out of trouble. Thank you, dear lady on crutches.

There are plenty of other glad game teachers. Melody Beattie says, “Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, and confusion to clarity… Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.”

Dr. Dennis Merrit Jones writes, “If we look deeply enough, we will find blessings even in things and events that on the surface we might tend to judge as negative. In the process, notice your glass is getting fuller.” Thank you dear Dr. Dennis.

The Buddhist Monk. Thich Nhat Hanh says, “Give thanks, even for your non-toothache.” Do you have a roof over your head and did you have a meal today? Are there people in your life that care about you and whom you love deeply? Do you live in a country where you are free and able to practice whatever religion you choose? I’m sure you get the idea.” Thank you dear Tich Nhat Han.

The glad game is all about changing our thinking so we make room for joy and happiness. It sets up the Law of Attraction and brings us more good. We remember that joy is our birthright.

You and I joyfully live in gratitude as we daily play the glad game. If we want to learn more, we start by making a list of the things we enjoy that we have at hand. We can also give thanks in advance for the things that are coming.

Adding to that gratitude list is a part of our spiritual practice and it brings great joy. The things we discover that make us happy are personal, deep and true. They may also be quite simple. We always leave room for discovery of more joy. We never let the to-do list rob us of ecstasy.

Ask Yourself

What makes me sing a joyful song?

What makes me jump for joy?

What do I choose to put on my gratitude list?

What future good am I glad for?